Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Written On the Capsule of My Heart

 Above my desk, I have a cork board of promises.  All of the promises are scriptures, confirmations, and dreams spoke from God about my life.  It’s a daily reminder of God’s spoken promise to me.  It wasn’t spoken through the mouth of man; it was spoken directly to my heart from God.  As each promise was spoken into my life; I have written it upon the capsule of my heart.  Deep within my soul I hold tightly to those precious promises; only shared with a select few.  Yet, the promises are held within the hand of God to fulfill them.  As the sparkle in my eyes eagerly awaits the fulfillment; God’s preparing my life for it.  As each day dawns, my life is challenged to grow for God’s call.  All of preparation comes through trials and tests, lessons of my past, continued prayer, and education from different seasons of my life.  All of seasons hold different lessons to prepare me; each one molds the dream to reality. 

     When I am too weak to fight the good fight of faith, God reminds me who I belong to.  When I walk in the midst of trouble, I can still have peace.  I can’t escape Him because the love of my devotion runs deep, the cross keeps me anchored.   The promises of God will be fulfilled because He spoke them.  I can’t force the promise to appear, God’s timing produces the blessings.  God never disappoints us; He will never fail us.  Our best intentions is what God has for us, it’s one of the beautiful benefits of belonging to God.  
Often we get impatient for God to move within our lives, we don’t see the evidence of our faith.  It’s during the waiting periods; we learn to trust God with the outcome.  We can’t have a harvest without a seed planted or tending to the field, it does require our actions.  Our faith contributes to the outcome but we can’t force the seed to grow.   When we have done our part; we have to trust God with His.  The walk of faith starts with a relationship with God but it’s nurtured through love and trust.   The experiences of life will eventually test our faith but God will bring loving assurances to protect it.  When we are tested; we must be faithful.  We can’t stop being faithful because of the length of the trial or the period of waiting.  Our faithfulness will declare our devotion, so God will entrust us with more.  Faithfulness produces the reality of dreams but the timeframe belongs to God.  God’s dreams for your life will be fulfilled; that’s a guarantee.   It’s time to write it down upon a tablet to hold unto.  

Then the Lord replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.  For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not be proven false.  Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” ~Habakkuk 2:2-3

Also, meditate upon those moments to build your faith of God’s promise.  Carefully listen to Gods’ voice to guide your steps, realize life’s difficulties produce opportunities for growth, and faithfulness produces blessings.   

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.” ~Psalm 32:8

 Recognize there is a cost for God’s dream, a person cost.  It’s a cost of sacrifice, being misunderstood, trial’s to falter your faith, and even persecution possibly from family.  The journey of life will prepare you for the dream but your faith in God will fulfill it.  Although his dream saved the lives of Israelites; his dream came with a price.  Although he was deeply loved by his father, he questioned and rebuked his dream.  Out of jealous for their father’s love and his dreams, his own brothers sold him into slavery.  As he entered the home of Pharaoh’s officials, the Lord granted him success.  Yet, the enemy tempted Joseph’s commitment to God through Potiphar’s wife.  Although he did nothing wrong; he went to prison.  Joseph was favored with the prison warden who gave him certain responsibilities for the jail.  Each experience brought Joseph opportunity to be faithful, so he was granted favor with God and man.  Although the prison doors held his life; it didn’t stop the preparation or withhold opportunity to be used. 

     As the story of Joseph’s life unfolds in scripture, it’s not an easy journey.  All of the obstacles didn’t prevent the fulfillment; it prepared him.  Only in the capsule of his heart could Joseph hold unto the promise, God’s promise.  A dream spoken into his life at the age of seventeen; it wasn’t fulfilled until he was a man.  As the dream started his life’s journey; the understanding came from a personal relationship with God.  What brought Joseph out of jail?  It wasn’t the dream but the ability to interpret dreams, a gift from hearing God’s voice. 

     Joseph had to develop his relationship with God; it’s what brought his deliverance.  So, remain faithful in your devotion to God.  Our God never sleeps or ignores the details of our lives; He is acquainted with them all.

“Yet what is due me is in the Lord's hand, and my reward is with my God."~Isaiah 49:4

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Light Amidst the Darkness

Life can’t have any hope unless there is a light amidst the darkness.  The spirit of darkness quietly lurks upon the earth seeking to devour souls; his appetite is craving destruction.  As he walks amidst a world of darkness; no one is alarmed of his mission.  As he walks, his lips crave for his appetite to be quenched.  Blindness or distortion of the truth holds the broken, hopeless, to stand against his power.  It’s only the Father of Lights, he fears.  Satan fears the Father of Lights for He will expose his deeds of darkness.  Besides exposing his mission; it will expose the bondage of man.  If a man craves wicked deeds; he loves the darkness. (John 3:19)

 As children of God, we are the light of the world.  “You are the light of the world.  A city upon a hill can’t be hidden. (Matthew 5:14)   As the city stands upon the hill; the visibility is apparent for all to see.  As children of the light, we are separated from the deeds of darkness.  We are called out of darkness into his marvelous light; it’s why we are a royal priesthood. (I Peter 2:9)  Our good deeds are not to be parade or shouted upon the earth but it should be a reflection of who we follow.  If our lives are truly changed, we will bear the fruit.  “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Live as children of the light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.  Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” (Ephesians 5:8-11)

Light will draw the hearts of the captive; it’s a natural element.  Light can’t be hidden; no matter what covers it.  If one tries to cover the light, it will be burned or cause the light to go out.  Yet, amidst this dark hour, a question is plaguing my heart about how effective is our light?  Either the church is truly reflecting the light or the light is burning out.  A smoldering wick God doesn’t want to snuff out, He longs to ignite it. 

“Wake up O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (Ephesians 5:14)

Darkness covered the hearts of man, so the Father sent the Light.  Jesus is the Light, so He is the final verdict of what our hearts reveal. (John 3:19)  Regardless of how powerful the darkness; it doesn’t mean we can’t impact it or make a stand.  We must be careful how we live so we can get the opportunity to share the truth.  Be very careful, then how you live-not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15-16)  As the hour of our Lord comes; we must be prepared to shine awaiting His return.  We can’t shine the light without oil?  So, how’s your lamp?  Is it filled ready to shine for the love of the Bridegroom?  The bridegroom will come upon the hour we least expect; so don’t be caught asleep.  Is your lamp burning?  If not, it’s time to get filled and ignited to burn. 

Daily we make a choice to life for good or evil, our lives make a contribution to the world we live. Evil will always bring destruction to the lives around us but the light brings restoration.   As the heart is drawn into Christ, he will transform it.  As it's transformed He will bring hope, comfort, and peace.  God is good; nothing will ever change this truth. Man's heart can only be changed by God; He is there only hope.  Yet, if no light is shown, darkness will evade the land.  Its only when our light shines can other’s find direction.  Sadly, so many people search for the purpose of life; they walk aimless in darkness.  Without hope, completely empty, and alone darkness can rule.  Light exposes the deeds of the world, brings shame of wickedness, and reveals nakedness.  (Ephesians 5:11-13)  Shame comes as evil is exposed but the cure is Christ.  Christ doesn’t desire for mankind to walk in shame; He desires for them to walk in light of his fellowship. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son, purifies us from all sin. (I John 1:7)

 If we truly have fellowship with Christ; it will show.  It doesn’t mean we never preach the Gospel; it’s evidence we belong.  Darkness desires to cover our land; it’s only when we reflect the Son, his power is diminished.  Recently, we have seen the destruction of evil upon our land; it doesn’t mean we remain silent.  It’s time to stand against the darkness, reflect the love of Christ, and ignite this land again.

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Soul in Lo Debar

Kindness not only opens the heart of a person; it opens the door for Christ to be revealed.  We are called to be the light of the world; so kindness is the glow to reflect it.  If we desire to fulfill the mission of Christ, we must understand the condition of people.   In Mark 2:17 Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Jesus was being criticized for eating and teaching to the “sinners” and tax collectors.  According to the religious leaders, He was sitting with the outcast who held no importance or value to society.  Our Savior came to the broken, outcast, and oppressed to offer salvation, healing, and hope.  With so many uncertainties, financial pressures, and worries people are broken hearted.  A broken heart can be mended with gentleness, with genuine concern, and God’s grace.  Some people will lash back with their hurt; their pain is very deep.  Whether it was their choices or the choices caused by others, everyone hurts.  Plato said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.”  So, when the broken hearted speak; their words will cut.  We must be prepared for their hurt to erupt and offer assistance to help.

Mephiboseth was a man who was crippled in both feet due to a tragic accident.  When his father and grandfather died, (2 Samuel 4:4) Mephibosheth’s nurse feared for his life so she picked him up and fled.  While running with the child, she fell.  When she fell, it injured the child causing him to be crippled.  Besides the injury upon his body; his family dynasty collapsed.  When King David took the throne, he could have destroyed the whole dynasty of Saul.  According to custom of the time period, it wouldn’t have been uncommon.  Besides this custom, David could have attacked Saul’s family out of vengeance.  Yet, David made an oath with Jonathan, Mephibosheth’s father to show kindness to his family.  (1 Samuel 20:15)  David searches for someone to show kindness to Jonathan’s family. (2 Samuel 9:1) 

    Mephibosheth lives in exile due to fear of the king, he lives in Lo Debar.  Lo Debar means “no pasture” or “wasteland”, so he lived with no hope.  If you are summoned to the king’s house, wouldn’t you be afraid?  As Mephibosheth bows before the king to show his respect, David expresses his desire TO RESTORE him.  Yet, Mephibosheth questions why would you notice a dead dog?  All of the scars upon his life caused Mephibosheth to doubt his worth.  Yet, Mephibosheth (his name means shame destroyer/image breaker) was about to be restored with land and honor.  All of the land of Saul would be restored, servants would assist him, and he would eat at the king’s table.  He didn’t just eat at the table; he was treated as the king’s son.   As Christian’s we need to show kindness to all of the “Mephibosheth’s” of this world, so they can be restored.  Our Father desires to restore their identity, their lives, and spend eternity with them.  The banquet table is prepared; we are to invite them.  Although everyone will not accept this opportunity; all are invited.  If they accept the invitation, we need to provide the assistance to restore their life.  No matter what it costs the church, we need to bring them to the table, so they can enjoy the delicacies of God.      


Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Heart of Stone

When the Word of God captures your attention, it’s for a personal and eternal importance.  As those precious moments occur, we need to truly meditate, prayerfully consider why it’s captured us, and being vulnerable to God. God longs to speak to us, He yearns for our attention, affection, and availability.  Yet, do we long for the same communion?

     Do we yearn for Him?  Do we delight in His Word?  Delight and yearn are words we associate with seeking the love of our life.  Yet, do we realize “He is the lover of our soul?”  Do you realize that when you love the Lord with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, that there is no room for anything else? 

     Yet, our lives are so filled with everything else; we forget the source of life.  Sadly so many people are burden with care, miserable, and unhappy for the neglect of intimacy with God.  Song of Songs is probably the most neglected book of the Bible but it’s the most revealing of God’s desire towards us.  God desires an intimate relationship with us.  God doesn’t desire to be only an emergency call but a call of loving affection. 

Question:  What is the first feeling about your personal devotional time with God?  Is it guilt?  Is it shame?  Out of obligation?  Or is it love?

     If it isn’t out of a longing to love God, it’s time to evaluate our life.  Honestly, would you desire to be with someone who doesn’t want to be with you?  No, we would be hurt or withdraw feeling unvalued or desired.  Yet, does God ever feel neglected in our relationship?  Any Christian will agree God’s presence is the best place to be but when was the last time you were there?  In Song of Songs, 3:1-3, the woman (Solomon’s wife) is distressed about not being able to find her love.  All through the night she searches for her lovers presence, she doesn’t care the hour.  She is desperate for his affection; she will search through the night.  Her heart will not be quenched until he is there.

     Song of Songs 3:1-2, “All night long on my bed I looked for the one my heart loves; I looked for him but did not find him. I will get up now and go about the city, through its streets and squares; I will search for the one my heart loves.  So, I looked for him and did not find him.”
     Our hearts are revived when love is awakened; it’s more than desire-it’s embraced.  When we truly embrace the deeps of God’s love for us, we desire no other lover.  We are devoted completely to Him; we don’t allow anyone or anything to interfere with our love.  I am my beloved and He is mine.  Beloved, God desires your complete affection, your complete heart, and life. Will you give it to Him?

     Honestly, I admit my personal time with God needs attention but I hear my lover calling.  So, I will run to his call, love awaits me.  I do not want his love to pass me by, I need it.  His love is what keeps me breathing, His fellowship is a treasure, and His presence keeps me.  I am so grateful that God desires me.  Also, He desires you. 
      If we desire to have a heart of affection with God, we have to be changed.  Our hearts are important for it reveals our devotion.  Can a heart be broken, changed, and restored?  Only through the grace and mercy of Christ can any heart be changed, this is my hope and security. A heart of stone doesn’t mean the knowledge of God isn’t present but the love of God is absent.  How can a heart be molded if it’s not connected to the creator?  A heart of stone doesn’t do anything but reflect its condition.  It can only be changed in the hands of the Creator.  “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.” Ezekiel 36:26

     Whether you never encounter God’s love or it’s been awhile since you were in His embrace, it’s never too late to come.  He is searching day and night for your love and affection, He is coming.  Yet, He is beating on the door, asking for you to answer.  He is waiting!  He stands at the door but if the door isn’t answered, he will walk away.  Although His love never ends for you, He doesn’t force it upon you.  Don’t miss this opportunity; the Spirit of the Lord is calling.  He is calling your name?  Will you answer?  Don't wait for tomorrow; it's not promised.  

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Only One Thing Is Needed

One of the most beautiful expressions within my church family is our heart for worship.  As the music begins to play, we don’t stay at the pews we come to the front of the altar.  Unified we all stand with arms uplifted, voices raised, and even joyful expressions to worship God.  As I approached the front of the altar, my heart was burdened with life.  All of the cares of the world mounted upon my spirit; choking the faith inside my heart.  It’s not hard to allow the pressures of life to mount upon us; it only takes an incorrect view of life.  Yet, I admit my heart was about to collapse; it was just too much to carry.  Usually we allow the pressures to mount; we unfortunately explode or start getting a sour attitude towards family, friends, or co-workers.  Although we have given all of our best efforts, we still fall short.  It’s a horrible feeling being found in the pit of despair.

As I approached the altar to worship, my heart was too heavy with care.  All of the household chores, financial concerns, family responsibilites, and issues at work started overwhelming me.  With all of my best effort, I was starting to come un-glued.  My patience was very thin with my family who should know what’s bothering me.  Yet, I never expressed my burden, so how can they carry it or lift it with me?  Sadly, we expect the same with God; we don’t cast our burdens upon Him.  Instead of relying upon His Word, seeking His face, we expect to conquer this mountain alone.  Yet, as approach the mountain, it’s too big for our britches.  Our faith is weak due to the neglect of staying connected to the source-Jesus.  We are to abide in Him, the Living Word, so when we need assistance it will be granted.

     Besides all of the burdens of life; Satan decided to through a dose of guilt upon me.  “You call yourself a woman of God!”  As I continued to listen to his voice, my heart grew very faint.  Nevertheless, God doesn’t desire our hearts to grow weary or faint, He wants to renew us.  As I stood so silently, the tears started to pour as the presence of God filled the room.  As the woman with the bottle of perfume, all I could do was pour myself at His feet.  With my whole heart, I just decided to worship.  What’s so beautiful, as I poured myself out, God lifted me up.  According to the Word, God inhabits the praise of His people, He enjoys dwelling with us.  “But thou art holy, thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.” (Psalm 22:3 KJV)  So, I just worshipped Him!  As the cords of life were removed from my heart; I was able to be renewed.  As the worship service continued, I could feel the Lord's presence with tenderness and peace around me.  All I could do was cry before Him and adore Him.  As I worshipped the Lord, I could feel the pressures slowly lifting from my heart. 
     In His presence is fullness of joy, so why do we always cut it short?  We get so worried and upset about many things but neglect what is better.  As Jesus told Martha, “Only one thing is needed.”  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:42)  As I went to Jesus, I got what I needed.  As my heart was being lifted, I couldn't help but notice a sweet wind surrounding me.  As I worshipped Him, I felt so uplifted, renewed, and free.  Although my heart was broken, my spirit melted into His hands.  Rest will not come until there is complete surrender.  The weight will hold you until you lay it down at the feet of Jesus.  Worship wasn't made for us to "feel good" it' s purpose is to center our lives on what matters-God.  As our hearts are center on Him, He will keep us.  God will keep us in perfect peace whose mind is on Him.  (Isaiah 26:3)  Peace isn't found in anyone else but Christ, He is the Prince of Peace.

     When the presence of God truly comes, our lives will be re-arranged.  Sadly, we don't keep an attitude of worship daily within our lives, so we become overwhelmed.  If life is getting the best of you, get the best of it by worshipping God.  Nothing can defeat Him, HE IS GOD! 

As the  perfume filled the room, she caught the attention of all.  She offered the most precious gift, an expensive perfume poured out on His feet.  Although others rebuked her worship, Jesus accepted it.  Although her life was overwhelmed with care her tears showed flowed upon His feet.  As she tries to wipe the tears with her hair but it's useless her heart is overwhelmed, so she worships Him.  It's interesting, the Bible says, "She will always be remembered for her gift."  (Luke 7:36-39; Matthew 26:7-13)

     Worship isn't about us, it's about Christ.  As we pour ourselves upon His feet, He sees our need.  Although the tears mount, He patiently listens with tenderness until we are poured out.  He doesn't rush us, He allows us to be emptied with all our cares.  Even without words; He understands.  Yet, He doesn’t desire for us to leave broken; He is our Healer.  Only one thing is needed to remove the cares of the world; time with Jesus.  So, run into your prayer chambers to pour out your heart, He is waiting for your worship.  Even if it comes with brokenness and tears, He will receive it.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Despised, Lonely, and Rejected

Although she is in the center of the room with a glowing smile, she is lonely.  She is filled with people who cherish her but she doesn’t feel loved.  Love is just a fairytale; it doesn’t exist in real life.  Besides her parents who really care if she exists.  What purpose does life really have?  Life is filled with errands, appointments, and events but her heart is empty.  In fact it’s so empty; she feels invisible.

Emptiness has grasped the core of her life; it’s hard to find purpose in a world of chaos.  Scars reveal a heart once filled with hope of acceptance, understanding, and healing.  Yet, her heart is screaming for love.  It’s not romantic love but a love of belonging.  Inside her heart, she desires to belong to someone who really cares; not just lip service or to get something from her.  Maybe it’s all wishful thinking but can love be a reality?

     She has no name but her feelings are shared with millions of men, woman, and children who are searching for the truth.  As the body of Christ, we hold the message of truth-Jesus Christ who heals the broken-hearted.  When the spirit of a life is broken; it can only be healed with truth-loving truth.  Sadly we have neglected the heart of the invisible because we don’t want to deal with stains.  So instead of loving people, we have allowed loneliness to become there best friend.  Loneliness covers the scars of what’s lurking underneath the desire to be loved and whole. 

     No matter what house you enter or what street you walk upon pain doesn’t avoid anyone.  A sinful world will scar the innocent and the guilty but the cure is Jesus Christ.  The bondage of the sin doesn’t have to ruin the life of the innocent; healing can be found.  Guilt doesn’t have to hold the captive; freedom can be found at the cross. 

     As He walked upon this earth, He was misunderstood and despised.  Oppression and affliction didn’t escape His path, He walked it silently.  On the streets of His hometown, rejected by those who didn’t acknowledge the good He did.  Sorrow and pain were not unfamiliar; He carried the weight of it.  Yet, He was pierced and crushed for our iniquities.  Although He suffered punishment for no crime; He brought peace.  As the painful wounds tore his flesh, He brought healing.

Isaiah 53:4-7~Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.  But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.  We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.  He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he didn’t open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

     Do you desire a friend who sticks closer than a brother, He understands the loneliness.  He doesn’t ignore the cries of broken; He comes with healing in His hands.  He isn’t afraid of the darkness of your life; He is the light.  If you feel alone or unlovable, may I introduce you to someone who thinks the world of you, his name is Jesus.